One Responsibility A Christian Leader Cannot Delegate!

Recently, I read a powerful book (Essentialism by Greg McKeown) that taught me the need for better delegation. When we properly delegate, it allows us to focus our attention on those issues and tasks that require our skills and ability while offloading those tasks that do not (Acts 6:1-7). It also helps in the development of our team members so that their skills can increase. While there are many benefits to delegating, there is one responsibility that a Christian leader cannot delegate…that is prayer!

prayer

Delegating Prayer?

As Christian leaders of our organization, department, or team, we have several responsibilities. Among these responsibilities are casting the vision, setting priorities and goals, and holding the team accountable. In many cases, we can delegate parts of each of these areas to qualified team members. As I said above, there are many benefits to doing this.

But there is one responsibility that you simply cannot delegate to your team – not even to your inner circle. This responsibility is prayer. Before I get started, let me clarify something…others can be committed to prayer. Your leadership team or inner circle can engage in prayer regularly. I am not excluding them at all!

Leader Accountable For Prayer

When I say the leader cannot delegate prayer, I mean that she cannot hand this task over to others and no longer be held responsible for it. She can enlist others to pray, but the leader is still accountable for prayer as well. Does that make sense?

The reasons for this are numerous. Let’s go through a few of them and see if you understand the weight of this responsibility. However, before we do, I need to begin with full disclosure!

Full Disclosure!

Until recently, I was not consistently committed to prayer like I should have been. The change came as the result of seeing the movie War Room and learning what commitment to prayer really looks like. I am not yet closely following the advice I will be giving you below, but I am getting much better at it as a result of my changes after seeing this movie. I look forward to a time when I can share more results from this renewed effort!

I say this because I want you to know that this commitment is not easy. It will most likely not come naturally. You will likely forget or neglect it at times for various reasons. The fact remains that we have no choice but to persevere if we truly desire to be the Christian leaders God has called us to be.

Reasons For Prayer Responsibility

Before I begin confessing things I should not confess, let’s dive into the reasons for our responsibility to prayer!

1. Jesus modeled it.

    If I wanted to, I could stop the post right here and you should be all in. If God-as-man (Jesus) saw such a tremendous need for prayer that He made it a top priority, then we should do the same. Take a look at the following Scripture and see what you think about the commitment Jesus had to prayer.

Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed. – Luke 5:16

During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12

He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged. – Luke 18:1

2. God is the Creator and Designer of All

    Seriously, if you had a question about why your computer won’t work a certain way, would you rather sit on hold with phone support or have a direct line to the one individual that wrote the software?!? You may laugh, but this is the same idea!
    We have a direct line to the One who created everything we can see. He created business before Jack Welch was a glimmer. He created education, technology, and healthcare. He knows everything there is to know about everything! Where else can you go to get better advice or stronger wisdom?
    Knowing He is the ultimate source for anything we could desire to know, shouldn’t we be more eager to sit at His feet and ask for help? Take a look at this Scripture to verify what I am saying.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. He said: Who is this who obscures My counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer Me like a man; when I question you, you will inform Me. Where were you when I established the earth?…. – Job 38:1 – 41:34

3. We are commanded to pray.

    I know some of you scholars are trying to decide whether I have come up with an eleventh commandment or some obscure verse because you cannot think of an instance where we are commanded to pray. Well, I hear you, but I see it differently!
    Read Matthew 6:5-8 and count the times Jesus says, “When you pray,…” He did not say “if” you pray, but “when” you pray. This is clear enough to me, but I can take it a step further.
    Read Matthew 22:37-40. You are most likely familiar with these verses as I refer to them often. In these verses, we are told to love God with everything we have, but there is no mention of prayer, right?
    Please describe to me a relationship built on total love that is without communication. You can’t.
    You can’t because it is impossible. If we truly love God with our whole heart, then we will simply be unable to resist talking with Him. It will be impossible for us to go through a day without sharing with Him or seeking His wisdom. Our desire would be too strong. Prayer would then be our lifeline rather than a responsibility!

Folks, if you will notice, none of the above Scriptures mention handing off the responsibility of prayer. That is because it is not possible. We are each in a position of needing this privilege. Let’s start recognizing this and creating the necessary changes in our lives to make it happen!

I will talk more later about HOW we can pray as Christian business owners and leaders. For now, I suggest you spend some time injecting life back into your prayer life. That is exactly what I am going to do!

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  • Ellen and I had a political discussion on Friday but it led into my comments on prayer. Politically and prayerfully speaking, we have two things I know we’re to pray for–our leaders in government and conditions that allow for the sharing of the gospel. I know this but I don’t often do this. Good word this morning.

    • Been doing 40 Days of Prayer before the election, so I’m with you on this one. I have missed a couple of days here and there, but I am certainly praying more for our government that ever before!

    • Thanks Tom.

  • I just read this morning where Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, laid out a leadership strategy for Moses. First on the list was “stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.” (Ex 18:19) This really challenged my personal leadership model. I need to make some changes in this area. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  • Very timely post Chris for two reasons. First, your “full disclosure” statement mirrors my feeling about my own prayer life, and I too am committing to doing something about it. Second, starting in November, the adult class I co-teach will be focusing on prayer. I’m certain your posts will be helpful in that focus, and I will be doing my own research on it as well. I am so tired of my prayers being the same every day too. I feel like I say them to say them, to fulfill my obligation. I don’t like that feeling. I also feel like even though we know prayer is important, we don’t fully understand how to do it. Between your upcoming posts and my own research, I am excited about the change that is coming in my life with regard to prayer!

    • All I can tell you is that this will be a learn-as-I-go process. I am looking forward to it as well!

      • That is for sure! Me too. I’m especially looking forward to the next level, which I know will come only through being closer to Jesus.

    • Kari, when you feel your prayer life is getting stale, try this simple prayer, Lord, you know my needs and shortcomings, please speak to me… Then just sit quietly and wait on that “small voice” to direct your heart, soul and mind. Prayer has but one goal: bring us closer to God and His will for us. Sometimes we spend too much time and effort speaking and not enough time listening. Somehow I believe God has much to share with you.

      • You hit on a big issue for me, spending less time and effort speaking and not enough time listening to Him. Thank you for this encouraging word. I am going to apply this in a few minutes. A big struggle is silencing the voicing in my head and keeping focused on listening to Him. My mind wanders so easily!

      • Wanted to let you know that I used this technique during my prayer time this morning and had a refreshing time with God. I found myself saying the simple prayer you suggested several times to get my focus back. My mind wandered less than usual. Silly, really, because I KNOW this stuff. Why is it so easy to get off track with stuff we should know?

        • Thanks for sharing that, Kari!

        • From experience…we are our own worst stumbling block! My quiet time comes in various times, but strangely enough windshield time to and from work when I am alone is a great time for me to seek God’s small voice to be heard. Thanks for sharing your experience this morning.

          • I get little to no windshield time anymore since I now work at home, but it used to be a great time with God. Now, running is one of my favorite times. I need to build in more of that. Thanks again for the advice!

  • Great example, Dwayne! Thanks for sharing that.

  • When we pray earnestly and honestly we find ourselves closer to God. The closer we are to our heavenly Father the more his light shines on our life – including our actions, attitudes and motives. As a leader, praying helps shed the light that a leader needs to know his or her actions, attitudes and motives are approved and blessed by God. Sometimes leaders feel too busy or burdened to find the time to pray…but for those reasons alone prayer should have the priority it deserves. By the way all need to be reminded about the value of prayer in all we do…

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  • Chris, a very powerful post. I have to admit that my work days are going faster and faster it seems. I used to take time during the day to just reflect and pray for my staff and my family. But today it seems my days fly by and there are days that I am laying my head down and I realize I did not pray. I know we are all a work in progress but this gives me some good insight to be more intentional about praying today and everyday.

    • Chris Patton

      Mark, glad to hear this post helped you recognize an opportunity for improvement! I completely understand the rush and have fallen into that trap myself. We just have to keep fighting our way out of it, determined to trust God to make everything work. I am praying for you and your efforts this morning.

  • Josh Sells

    Thank you for this reminder this morning. I am constantly blown away by how God uses others to help nudge us to where we should be. Thankful that I am not a lone sojourner on this voyage.

    • Chris Patton

      Alone, you are not! We are just iron sharpening iron. Thank you for your part in sharpening me as well!

  • Steve

    A very powerful message Chris. Thank you!

  • Just a timely comment. I am leading a study group on Christian servanthood (leadership by example). Paul’s message to Timothy provided two key points that transfers well to our society today. 1. Humility trumps hubris every time when it comes to building the right relationships that lead to a successful team. 2. Encouragement is best accomplished when delegating when you have set the example for what you desire to delegate. Paul makes a repeated point about prayers and petitions for Timothy to inspire others to follow in the pursuit of a godly life. Enjoyed re-reading this post. Thanks Chris.